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Zachary Hunt ’24 Wins ABA Essay Contest

Zachary Hunt ’24 has won the American Bar Association’s (ABA) 2024 Harvey Saferstein Consumer Protection Committee Student Essay Contest. His first-place essay, “Port in a Storm: Colorado’s ‘Safe Harbor’ Settlement as a Template for Online Lending Reform,” was published in Volume 109 of the Cornell Law Review.

“It was a wonderful surprise to learn that I had won the award,” says Hunt. “It means so much to be recognized for the hard work that went into this paper, and to have that recognition come from an organization as important as the ABA makes it all the more exciting.”

In his essay, Hunt identifies a settlement between Colorado authorities and two online lending firms as a template for stronger regulatory measures against predatory online lending, and he suggests that the time may be ripe for Congress to directly address the industry through federal legislation. His essay contest win came with a cash scholarship of $5,000 and complimentary registration and travel to the ABA Antitrust Law Section’s Spring Meeting in Washington, D.C, which he attended in early April.

His winning essay originally began as a research paper for Professor Saule Omarova’s Issues in Financial Regulation writing seminar. After the semester ended, he spent several more months editing and revising the paper before submitting it to Cornell Law Review for publication.

“It was a long and challenging project,” he says, “but looking back, I’m amazed by what a powerful difference it has made in my research and writing skills. I think working on a publishable research paper is one of the most rewarding experiences a student can have in law school, and the seminar curriculum at Cornell certainly gives us plenty of opportunities to do so.”

Hunt notes that he owes “a tremendous amount of gratitude” to Omarova, who he says “went above and beyond to share her feedback, suggestions, and encouragement from the earliest stages of drafting the paper.” He added, “I’ve had the privilege of learning from Professor Omarova across five different semesters of doctrinal classes, writing seminars, and individual research projects, and I consider myself extremely fortunate to have had her as a mentor during my time in law school.”

A native of Clendenin, West Virginia, Hunt earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Florida and later received a master’s degree in finance from the University of South Florida. At Cornell, Hunt has served as senior articles editor of the Cornell Law Review and spent two semesters working in the Securities Law Clinic, which assists low-income retail investors in securities arbitration claims. He spent his 1L summer as an intern for U.S. District Judge Charlene Honeywell at the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida and his 2L summer at White & Case in Miami.

Hunt will be graduating this spring, with plans to return to Miami as an associate in White & Case’s Financial Restructuring and Insolvency practice group.

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